The warm and mild weather has made our terrace in front of the house a favorite spot for aperitivo - both for us and our guests - and what better way to soak of the last rays of sunlight with a good old fashioned Bicicletta in the hand - our favorite drink of the season.
Add some ice to a wine glass, pour in a light and fresh white wine - this is not the place to use your big oaky whites - something fruity and simple - like a Grechetto. Top up with a good splash of Campari - don't be modest - you want a nice reddish colour on your drink. Garnish with orange....and you are set to go.....
Scarmoza is a cheese originating from Campania - a kind of aged mozzarella/stretched cheese made from either cow or buffalo milk. It looks a bit like a small old fashioned purse - as it has been tied and hung to dry before selling. Here in Todi our local cheese maker - Caseficio Montecristo - makes a perfect example of scarmoza which is lightly smoked. But you can use the unsmoked version as well or even a mozzarella of lesser quality - you don't want to use a perfect soft buffala here.
So cut the cheese into sticks/chunks and place them on some paper towel to soak up any excess moisture. Prepare 3 plates - one with seasoned flour, one with beaten egg and one with bread crumbs. Now work with one stick at the time - coat it in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the bread crumbs making sure it is evenly coated. Return to the egg and then a final coating in the crumbs. Place on a tray lined with parchment and continue with the rest of the cheese.
Once they are all done, place the tray in the freezer for 1 hour.
Pour some sunflower oil into a saucepan with low sides, you want about 5 cm of oil. Heat of the oil until 180c degrees or until a small pieces of bread fries quickly in the oil without burning.
Now fry your cheese sticks straight from the freezer in the hot oil until golden and crispy. You might also see the cheese starts to ooze a little. Lift out of the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Last but not least fry some fresh rosemary for just a little extra flavour - and remember to eat them right away.
happy aperitivo to all of you.......